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Parents, biker community rallies for Surfers for Autism
On most days, Abigail Maas, who has a severe form of autism, is nonverbal and in constant motion, her 8-year-old arms flailing about.
But on beach days, when she gets out on the water, lying on a surfboard, she is transformed.
“Surf day is the only day she is not medicated. She is so calm,” said her mother, Priscilla Maas. “It brings tears to my eyes … to see her out there, to see her body relax.”
That’s why Priscilla and her husband, Ace Maas, held the second annual Bikes and Boards Show on Sunday at the motorcycle shop they own on the Northside. Proceeds went to Surfers for Autism, a Florida-based nonprofit that holds 15 events a year across the state to introduce surfing to children who have autism.
Despite rainy weather, 13 vendors and more than a dozen motorcycles showed up for the event, which included a judged bike show and tattoo contest, food and novelty sales, $500 worth of raffle prizes and a band called Second Time Around. Last year’s event had far fewer vendors and raised $2,000; Priscilla Maas said she hoped the 2013 version would raise even more, even with the rain.
The Maas family hooked up with the Surfers for Autism after the nonprofit had a surfing event in Jacksonville. They were amazed at the therapeutic benefits for Abigail and other children who have autism.
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